I want Anakin Skywalker to make an appearance in Star Wars Episode IX. There, I said it. Star Wars is worked into my lifestyle quite prominently. Going to and from work, I most likely will have one of the movie’s soundtracks playing in the car (The Empire Strikes Back, currently). In my downtime, I am most likely reading the novels, rewatching the movies, TV shows, or checking out the latest comic books. That, and I’m also portraying several characters from the saga in costume with the 501st Legion. In other words, Star Wars is a huge deal for me.
Most recently, I have begun reading the novel, Heir to the Jedi, which revolves around the time when Luke Skywalker really began to immerse himself in learning the ways of the Force. Bear in mind, this is after he lost Obi-Wan Kenobi, but before he met Yoda. Luke is without a practical teacher. I’m only 50 pages in, but the book is already a fascinating insight into Luke’s early comprehension of the Jedi way.
Yes, there is one last film to go in the sequel trilogy of the Star Wars saga. J.J. Abrams is tasked with bringing the trilogy to a close. Until then, we are left with the wonderful privilege of letting our minds speculate. Honestly, I’m curious to see how writing the story for a Star Wars movie would go. To be a mynock on a ship’s hull in a time like that. I’m willing to bet there’s a lot of “wouldn’t it be cool if” exchanges in a meeting room at Lucasfilm.
My outlook on the entire series is rather open. As I stated in my review for The Last Jedi, the story ultimately belongs to Lucasfilm, and the fandom belongs to the people. It’s no surprise that The Last Jedi has been very polarizing to fans since it released in December. Whether or not you enjoyed the film is not the focus of this piece, but I accepted The Last Jedi for the next chapter in the saga, successes and faults in all.
Back to the matter at hand, however. I was in attendance last year for Star Wars Celebration 2017, and I’ll never forget how surprised I was to see Hayden Christensen among the guests for that year’s event. Additionally, Hayden was so well received each time he took the stage to speak. Keep in mind this was eight months before The Last Jedi came out, but I had strong suspicions that Anakin Skywalker was set to return to the Star Wars saga.
Spoiler: Anakin didn’t come back, but we did see a Force spirit return in Yoda. In retrospect, I find Yoda’s appearance over Anakin’s to be justified. Luke’s former master and teacher returns to tell his apprentice that “the greatest teacher failure is.” Its justification is further supported by the fact that Yoda finishes their conversation by saying, “We are what they (students) grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” Every time I watch this scene, I can feel how appropriate it is for a flawed teacher to come to his student’s aid, even when that student became a flawed teacher himself.
The last book I read before Heir to the Jedi was From a Certain Point of View, which is basically the events of A New Hope seen through the eyes of different characters. There is a chapter that takes place after Obi-Wan becomes one with the Force, in which he communes with Yoda on Dagobah. Yoda has grown tired and sad over his solitude. He yearns for the day when “Skywalker” will come to begin her training. Yes, that’s right, I said her. Remember when Yoda refused to train Luke, saying, “This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon.” Yoda actually never wanted to train Luke. He indeed kept watch on the Skywalker twins through the Force, but Yoda believed Leia to be the more balanced of the two as Luke was quick tempered and delighted in adventure. I strongly urge you to watch this well made fan video about Yoda and Luke’s failures as Jedi Masters.
While Star Wars has several nods to the bonds between master and apprentice, family is also a cornerstone of the franchise. It stands to reason that Anakin Skywalker has a chance to make one last appearance, in the way of film, before the Skywalker saga wraps up. You’ll no doubt remember that Luke told Kylo Ren, in their final showdown, that should he strike him down in anger, he would always be with him, just like his father. I believe it. I think Kylo Ren will be redeemed before the end. Whether that will cost him his life or have to live with the consequences of his actions, I’m not sure.
Star Wars: Episode IX, in regards to Kylo’s story arc, has to be driven heavily by family. Think about it. Kylo already has such an attachment to Darth Vader. It’s been confirmed that he does not want to stand in the presence of Vader’s charred helmet until he think he’s worthy of it. Han Solo is gone. Luke has become one with the Force. Leia is all that’s left of Kylo’s family, although with Carrie Fisher’s death, Leia’s fate is looking grim as well. Who would have a greater impact, and understanding of coming back to the light, than Anakin Skywalker, Ben’s true grandfather?
Another thing that’s given inspiration to this thought is because I’m reading Heir to the Jedi. Early on, Luke hears his first heroic story about his father, and how he was willing to put his life on the line to save a fellow Jedi Knight by way of extraordinary prowess in flying a ship. Luke was only able to ascertain this information from a Rodian named Laneet Chekkoo, whose uncle was the Jedi Knight once saved by Anakin Skywalker. One thing I wonder about is why Ben Solo chose to align himself with his grandfather, Darth Vader, and not Anakin Skywalker. I hypothesize it’s due to a couple of reasons. In the novel, Bloodline, the secret of Leia’s parentage to Darth Vader is leaked to the greater galaxy, effectively ending her political career. At this time, Ben Solo is still in training as a Jedi, and Leia and Han thought it best to hold off on telling Ben about his lineage until he was older. Imagine, if you will, Ben’s shock to find he is related to the most feared figure of the Galactic Empire (and now I hope there’s a novel in which Snoke uses this information to seduce Ben Solo).
Another thought is that the Jedi Order became extremely taboo in the days of the Empire. Uttering the name of the Jedi, or being seen with a lightsaber, would garner not just unwanted attention, but deadly consequences. The Jedi were regarded as traitors who got their comeuppance following the Clone Wars. Palpatine himself alleged the Jedi tried to take control of the senate by attempting to “assassinate” him, and that was an effective deception to give rise to the Empire. Along with the Jedi, Anakin Skywalker, it would seem, died in more ways than one. He died in name, in body, and also in legend.